Writing thrillers typically involves a lot of research, and I’m often asked which websites I use when I don’t have access to information or an expert to whom I can turn. I thought I’d list a few here to get you started, and I’ve also included some websites which have proven to be useful for story ideas too. The following links come with a disclaimer that some are not for the faint-hearted or squeamish, so if you’re easily offended please don’t click on them!
This is a features website which covers a multitude of topics at the cutting edge of science, environment, health, socio-political and IT. Actually, all of the BBC sites are worth a look – just make sure you’ve got a spare afternoon because you will get side-tracked!
The Royal Society
The Royal Society reports and publication archive is the go-to for judges who have to research a subject prior to a trial hearing as well as a wealth of other policy- and law-makers throughout Europe. The wealth of information available here is guaranteed to send you down the research rabbit hole. With subject matter organised into themes such as “new and emerging technology” and “security and risk”, you’ll find up to date data on every scientific subject imaginable.
A UK-based organisation which aims to promote forensic science on the school curriculum, they’ve now expanded to include some really useful advice through their website for authors. Website sections include ‘Bodies and Bones’, ‘Field Work’, ‘Criminal Mind’ and ‘Traces’. Highly recommended reading.
The Guardian, Science section
The Guardian’s website has been a go-to for me for a long time now, and the science section in particular should be of great help to thriller and crime writers alike. Often investigating matters at the cutting edge of scientific discovery, the news site also covers subjects such as psychology and forensics. Worth a look around.
A current affairs and socio-political news website, this often includes interesting articles which may trigger an idea or two in your head…
Finally, the ‘defence’ sections of any newspaper are worth reading to keep up to date on current issues faced by a country’s armed forces – and don’t just limit yourself to your own country’s newspapers. It’s well worth having a peek at what other countries are reporting – you never know where that idea will spring from!
I hope this list proves useful to you in your writing, and I’d love to receive your comments on what websites you use for research purposes.